May 21, 2009

My Windows 7 Experiences (so far)

The "Release Candidate" (RC) of Windows 7 (W7) was released last month. It's available for anyone to download and install.

Before I describe my experiences so far, you should keep the following in mind if you decide to try it:
  1. Do not install this as your production operating system!! This is still "test" data and should be treated that way. There is no guarantee the it won't cause problems.
  2. Install it on a separate drive or partition. Do a "Clean Install". Don't "upgrade"
  3. Format the drive/partition
  4. The hardware requirements are not much different from Vista, however, they ARE significantly different from XP. Don't even think about it if you don't have at least 2GB of RAM. MS will try to tell you 1GB works. Sure, but most of us want to get some work done this century.... :-)
  5. The RC will expire on June 1, 2010. Starting on March 1, 2010, your PC will begin shutting down every two hours. Windows will notify you two weeks before the bi-hourly shutdowns start. To avoid interruption, you’ll need to install a non-expired version of Windows before March 1, 2010.
  6. You can't upgrade the RC to the "real" OS later.
  7. Some programs and hardware may not work. Be prepared to have to look at alternatives.

There are some good Q&A's at Also, check in at Getting Ready for Windows 7 to ask questions and share experiences (or lurk to see what is going on).

Anyway, on to my experiences:

First off, the install is WAY better than Vista or XP. You answer 3-4 questions and off it goes. I've installed the 2 betas and the RC and every time, it has taken about 20 minutes. Everything worked after it completed.

It's a lot faster than Vista and the UAC (User Access Control) prompt are way down. There are some interface changes that are going to take some getting used to. They have combined the Quick launch and running programs toolbars into one. Overall, though, if you are used to Vista, you won't have much of a problem with W7.

I only ran into two compatibility problems. First off, the software for my HP Photosmart C4180 All in One printer won't install. The printer works, W7 did install drivers for it, but the scanning (especially to Word) doesn't work. The other was with Sunbelt Personal Firewall. They expect to have a version ready for the general release of W7, though. I was able to install KasperskyInternet Security with no problems.

Overall, I'm really pleased with it. I've said to some folks that "this is what Vista should have been". I will almost certainly install it when it is finally released.I'm going to have no problems recommending it to folks buying new computers (when it's available.).

Keep in mind, that I am not recommending upgrading to W7. My position on "upgrading" is clear. It's almost always a bad idea. If you have the hardware to support it, do a "clean install". The pain up front is well worth avoiding the (much larger) pain later....

Hope some of you will be able to "take it for a spin"....


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